On Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, the 172nd academic year at Hollins University was officially opened with an opening convocation. This is a beloved Hollins tradition was held at the Jessie Ball DuPont Chapel. The class of 2014 paraded in in their decorated robes, followed by members of the faculty in academic robes. After an invocation by chaplain Jenny Call, members of the Hollins University Concert Choir sang “Lift Thine Eyes” from Elijah. President Nancy Oliver Gray gave a brief welcome, followed by Patricia W. Hammer presenting class honors.
Student Government President Gabrielle Awuma, class of 2014, gave some remarks. Awuma told a story of how her brother suggested writing a speech that could be given at any college or university and just fill in “Hollins” where the name of the school should go. This bothered Awuma, because of the implication that the experience at Hollins University is a generic one. The Hollins experience, according to Awuma, is unique and is what you make of it.
Following Awuma’s remarks, President Gray gave an address in which she discussed a renewed sense of hope for the future. According to President Gray, 82% of the class of 2017 participated in a day of service on Sep. 3rd, and the Hollins University campus is making great strides at reducing its carbon footprint.
President Gray’s address ended the opening convocation. Seniors and faculty paraded out of the chapel. Following convocation, members of the senior class headed to the quad. One of the traditions at Hollins University dictates that only members of the senior class can walk on the grassy areas of the quad. So after convocation, members of the senior class gather in the quad, open bottles of sparkling cider decorated by classmates, and took their first steps on the grass. This tradition is one of the things that make Hollins University so unique.
And thus begins the 2013-2014 academic year at Hollins University.